The Isle of Harris Distillery

News | 05 Dec 2014 | Issue 124 | By Rupert Wheeler

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The Isle of Harris Distillers are over the moon as they have just announced that one of the main aims of the new distillery project is, 'to be of benefit to the local community' and they have already taken a step forward with the first of their employees taking up their posts.

The small production team of four members have been recruited entirely from within the working population of the island and will be led by Production Manager Kenny Maclean (pictured) whose family have worked the land in Harris for generations.

Joining Kenny will be Donnie Macleod, Billy Fraser and Donald Macleod. All four men have varying work backgrounds including engineering, construction, administration and IT. Most importantly they are all united in a passion for the island of Harris and a desire to make The Hearach the finest malt it can be.

The new production team will now undertake an intensive training programme to learn the art and science of distilling with the support of experts from within the Scotch whisky industry.

Early in the new year the team will be managing the installation and commissioning of the new distillation equipment, with the aim of having the first batch of the Harris Spirit filled into casks in the spring.

Some real hightlights of the distillery include:

• They are hoping to help put the Outer Hebrides on the map as a new whisky region.

• They aim to be operational by May 2015.

• The stills have been designed and manufactured near Siena Italy by Frilli, a century-old family controlled company.

• As well as the two pot stills, Frilli are producing a bespoke gin still. Their gin is being developed in cooperation with Heriot-Watt University and will feature at least one locally sourced botanical. The gin will only be available to visitors to the distillery and

their website.

• They have allocated 200 casks from their first year's whisky production to private individuals (strictly for pleasure, not as investment). They will also be launching a scheme shortly which will allow individuals to pre-order one of the first bottles of The Hearach and become connected permanently with the distillery.

The Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival

The Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival is now in its 16th year proving the success of the partnership between Jazz Scotland and The Islay Arts Association. The unique character of Islay plays the perfect backdrop to the musical festival with concerts being hosted in venues as diverse as the Gaelic College, bird centres and distilleries. A stunning weekend of weather meant that, between the music, visitors could enjoy the local attractions including the tranquility at the Kildalton cross, the mystical home to the Lord of the Isles at Finlaggan or a bracing walk along one of Islay's beautiful beaches. A plateful of shellfish could also be washed down with a dram after one of the distillery tours on offer. As Lagavulin plays such a starring role, the distillery organised two special warehouse experience tours with the ever entertaining Iain McArthur offering guests an insight into the maturation of the spirit.

The variety of artists has something to offer a range of tastes. Newcomers, The Gramophone Jass Band, opened the festival with their lively tunes from the 1920s followed by the Donny McCaslin Quartet. Local band 95 Roots were joined by the American swing pianist, Champian Fulton and Colin Steele's Melting Pot partied into the small hours.

Nick Morgan of Diageo, a talented musician himself, says, "It is a privilege to sponsor this year's Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival, an event that introduces so many visitors to this seductive island and brings delight to local and international jazz lovers."

Northern Ireland's first distillery in 100 years

To celebrate Northern Ireland's first licensed Irish Whiskey distillery in over 125 years, The Echlinville distillery on the Ards Peninsula in Co. Down introduce their 'Patron's Promise' Cask Offer, an inaugural distillation of only 144 casks of the finest Irish whiskey, Single Malt or Pot Still, crafted to your exact requirements, matured and finished to your individual palate.

Customers will have an array of options from whiskey style, cask size, age and finish through to individual bottling and labelling design. They invite you to choose either an Irish Pot Still or Single Malt style, and to age your whiskey in a variety of barrel types.

Once matured for a minimum of five years, you can further choose to finish your whiskey to your preferred taste, in a range of speciality casks, including Pedro Xmenez and Oloroso, and bottle with your private commission label.

Tel: +44 (0) 2842 738 597

Chivas open Dalmunach - Unique approach to distillery design

Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard, has completed the construction of its new Speyside malt whisky distillery, reinforcing its long term growth prospects in the face of increased global demand for Scotch whisky. Production at the new distillery, commissioned by Chivas Brothers in 2012, will commence this month [October 2014].

Built using the latest innovations and environmental expertise such as heat recovery technology, the distillery is capable of producing up to 10 million litres of high quality Speyside style spirit per year to support the growing global demand for the bestselling blended whisky brands within Chivas Brothers' portfolio, which includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine's and Royal Salute.

The new distillery, which is Chivas Brothers' 14th operating malt whisky distillery, is named Dalmunach after the nearby pool in the River Spey on whose banks the distillery sits. It has already had a positive impact on the local economy with companies from the Speyside area heavily involved in the construction, while an additional eight permanent employees have joined the Chivas Brothers production team.

Every element of the distillery design, including the unique still shapes, has been geared to producing the very highest quality Speyside malt whisky with a rich, fruity character, a vital ingredient to the highest quality blended Scotch whiskies.

Laurent Lacassagne, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, comments, "As global demand for Scotch whisky increases year on year, our confidence in the long-term growth prospects for the category remains strong. The construction of the new Dalmunach distillery is a clear demonstration of our confidence and also of our commitment to invest to meet the significant growth potential."

"With their reputation for crafted excellence, our blended whiskies form a key part of the Chivas Brothers portfolio in both emerging economies and mature markets, so we believe the increased capacity which the new distillery will provide will help to drive the business forward in the years to come."

A new home for Murray McDavid at Coleburn Distillery

Leading Scotch whisky broker Aceo Ltd, which acquired the independent bottler Murray McDavid from Bruichladdich in 2013, has completed a total refurbishment of the original dunnage warehouses at Coleburn distillery in Moray and launched a new 'Art of Maturation' cask management service.

After obtaining HMRC bond approval, Aceo drew together a team of experienced warehousemen from the local community, allowing them to provide a comprehensive whisky maturation service. The refurbished dunnage will be used to store both their own stock and their customer's cask whisky, offering clients unprecedented access, upkeep and regular sampling solutions.

Furthermore, a range of processes to enhance maturation, such as re-racking, finishing and vatting will be on offer, with casks receiving a 'Cask Passport' which includes its full known history - including that of previous use and repair. Owners of stored spirit will receive annual maturation reports following thorough sampling; with blending, bottling, labelling and shipping services available when the whisky's maturation is complete.

Aceo's managing director Edward Odim said, "After a long time spent supplying premium bottlers with cask whisky it is very exciting to be embarking on a new chapter in our history. Having a site of our own, presents us with great opportunity to provide a more comprehensive service to our customers."

For more information contact Aceo Ltd on +44 (0) 1452 762 024,
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